French, Latin, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

RIP: Manitas de Plata, “A Great and Savage Artist” (1921–2014)

Posted November 10, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Manitas de Plata 2

“A great and savage artist” were the words John Steinbeck once used to describe gypsy guitarist, Ricardo Baliardo, better known as “Manitas de Plata” for his “little silver hands.” Born in 1921 to a traveling gypsy caravan in the Camargue region of southern France, de Plata never learned to read or write (he was tasked with begging as a child), but was a self-taught …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My Late Friend, Joe Zawinul

Posted November 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul first became known when he replaced Victor Feldman as pianist of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, a fantastic band with music director Charles Lloyd on sax and flute. David Axelrod was the svengali who produced those timeless Cannonball Adderly sessions from 1964–75.
I remember buying Joe’s new Zawinul LP in 1971 and going over to a friend’s who had a good stereo system, and lying on the floor enjoying …

African, Artist Spotlight, Blues, Music History, New Releases, Performances & Events »

Tinariwen, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer

Posted November 3, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Tinariwen - Joshua Tree 2

Tinariwen, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer sounds like a gruesome scene from the Kel Tamashek uprising of 1963 in northern Mali that saw the death of messianic Tinarwen frontman Ibrahim Ag Alhabib’s parents when he was a small boy. But in fact, it’s actually the group’s playbill for the North America tour for their latest album, Emmaar.
When The Harpoonist (Shawn Hall) and the …

Audiophiles, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

My Ode to Vinyl and CDs

Posted October 22, 2014 by | 5 Comments
Just some of the collection.

The other day I was shopping at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, which as a seasoned music buyer, I have to say is undeniably the best record store in the world. Better than many of the stores I used to frequent over the past decades: Music Odyssey, Licorice Pizza, Wherehouse, Music Plus, Penny Lane…you remember.
My record shopping obsession got off to an early start, about as …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Brian Eno on Dick & DeeDee’s 1961 classic, “The Mountain’s High”

Posted October 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Dick & Dee Dee - The Mountain's High

Dick & DeeDee perform “The Mountain’s High” on American Bandstand.
A few weeks ago, I visited my brother in Templeton, California, where he owns a beautiful house and a vineyard. Before I left, he handed me a bag of his old 7-inch, 45 rpm’s. Inside were some original Capitol Records singles by The Beatles, a few old R&B hits, and late ’50s and early ’60s b-sides …

Jazz, Music History »

Martin Luther King On Jazz

Posted October 7, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The words of Martin Luther King are always worthy to reflect upon. We are forever grateful for his courage and perseverance. Even his words on jazz are still prescient and moving. He gave this short speech listed below at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival. This year, the jazz festival is celebrating 50 years and will be held from October 30th – November 2nd. It’s now one …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History »

Old Man Bebo: Amazing Documentary on Cuban Musical Giant

Posted October 5, 2014 by | 1 Comment
old man bebo

Bebo Valdes (1918-2013) is a giant of Cuban music, but an artist that isn’t appreciated enough or even known at all. Maybe because he was forced to leave Cuba by a young and repressive Castro regime, leaving to reside permanently in Sweden. There, he worked as an Arctic Circle hotel pianist playing old fisherman songs for the patrons. It was only because of his 2004 …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Interviews, Jazz, Music History »

Michael Cuscuna: Jazz Spelunker

Posted October 1, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Michael Cuscuna

Michael Cuscuna is a jazz curator and archivist, and a man you can trust. Today, vinyl is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, but many vinyl albums turn out not to analog at all: they’re mastered from digital files. You’re losing a generation of sound. The best companies: Analogue Productions, Impex, Mobile Fidelity, and Cuscuna’s Mosaic Records all go straight into record company archives and …

Audiophiles, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass: Still Amazing

Posted September 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Earlier this year, I got a copy of the Speakers Corner LP reissue of Coltrane’s incandescent 1961 classic, Africa/Brass. The other night I listened to it after listening to some straight-ahead, more mainstream jazz. I was amazed, even though I’ve heard this album many, many times. It was recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, produced by Bob Thiele, and the Speakers Corner vinyl reissue …

Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #71: Overlooked Unusual Songs, Part 2

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, I did a show where I pulled older songs that still need some love. Now it’s time for Part 2!
We start with an R-rated Tahitian song from 1931: a love song chosen by illustrator and melomane Robert Crumb from an old 78 rpm record he found in France. After that, an album that David Byrne once gave to his friends at Christmas …

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